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Family, officials mourn Roane County firefighter

SPENCER — A West Virginia firefighter was killed when a volunteer fire department’s truck crashed while responding to an emergency call Saturday in Roane County.

In a post to the City of Spencer’s Facebook page, city officials said firefighter Mark Horwich died in an accident while enroute to a fire.

“Unfortunately our community has been no stranger to tragedy as of late, and Saturday, January 11, 2020, it struck again,” the post said. “We lost a brave member of the Spencer Roane Volunteer Fire Department, a father, a husband and wonderful resident of Spencer when his fire truck left the road and his life was ended far too soon while responding to a fire.”

The accident happened near the community of Newton. WSAZ-TV reported the force of the crash crushed the cab of the fire truck.

The Roane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the accident, which closed the road for several hours. On Sunday, the Roane County 911 Center had no further details available.

Horwich served on two local departments and was responding as part of the Clover VFD.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice posted Saturday a message of support for volunteer firefighters and Horwich on Twitter.

“Our volunteer firefighters are some of the most incredible WVians we have, because they run toward danger to protect us — out of the goodness of their hearts,” he wrote. “We lost one of these brave men (Saturday) at the Clover VFD in Roane County.

“Cathy and I send our deepest condolences to his family and the entire community. We ask all WVians to join with us offering their prayers and support during this time of mourning,” Justice wrote.

The City of Spencer’s Facebook post said Horwich’s family, his fire department and the community are devastated by this sudden tragedy.

“From all of us at the City of Spencer, we extend our sincerest condolences to the loved ones of Mark Horwich,” it said. “You have our hearts.”

Horwich was also the founder and owner of Fire Station Software LLC, a business that developed recordkeeping software for fire departments.

His wife, Sarah Horwich, posted on the company’s Facebook page Saturday about the accident.

“Our family, his children, and his fire family and friends request your prayers at this time,” she wrote. “Mark Horwich was a dedicated man who loved his family dearly, loved the fire service, and he loved this business which he started from scratch and grew to what it is today.”

The City of Spencer is asking people to honor Horwich and all the volunteer firefighters this coming week.

“We ask that residents join us in lowering flags to half staff Monday through Friday in a show of grief, honor, and respect for Mark Horwich,” the city’s Facebook post said. “We are so grateful for our service personnel of all departments and are deeply moved by the loss of fireman Horwich in the line of duty.

“We acknowledge the danger you put yourselves in when the call for help goes out and appreciate your sacrifice. Again, our sincere condolences and sympathies.”

The funeral arrangements for Horwich are still pending. His wife wrote they would be posted to the business Facebook page when they are finalized.

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